Shoelaces, Belts And Other Items Of Harm

We have a number of hostels in our area, some are for young people, some are for people living with mental illness, some for alcoholics and others are for people coming out of prison.
For this latest call we were called for someone who was 'suicidal', we pulled up outside the house and realising that it was the same place that my crewmate had her bag stolen while we were inside dealing with a patient.

We walked in (after making sure that the ambulance was securely locked) and spoke to a member of staff. We had a bit of trouble making ourselves understood, but this is not really unusual any more.

The patient, who was in his room was said to be feeling distressed and had apparently tied a noose in a bit of spare string. The staff seemed very proud that he had taken the string away from the patient – so now the patient was safe.

I asked him if he'd removed the patient's shoelaces, belt, power leads or drawstrings for the curtains. He looked a bit sheepish and told us that he had forgotten about those things…

We went up to the patient's room. He didn't want to talk to us, except to tell us that the 'noose' had just been him fiddling with the bit of string out of boredom. We tried to persuade him to come with us to hospital, it covers our back should he then go on to hurt himself, and it means that he might get some specilist help from the mental health team.

But he refused and in my opinion he was full competent to refuse treatment so we left him.

Going back downstairs to the staff, they seemed very disappointed that we weren't taking the patient to hospital. I had to roll out one of my set monologues, the one where I explain that we can't kidnap people. The staff shook their heads and asked us what they could do. It was night, so there wasn't a chance of a GP or of a mental health team so the only advice that I could give was that they speak to their support staff in the morning.

And so we left, hoping that he didn't go on to hang himself with the belt that the staff had left in his room.


I'm on night-shifts at the moment. After some time being able to keep the same hours as reasonable people it's come as a bit of a shock to the system. So while the weather is lovely I find myself sleeping through it – it's just depressing really. Especially when people annoy me by dancing in the road in front of me while I'm trying to drive on blue lights.

One day…

7 thoughts on “Shoelaces, Belts And Other Items Of Harm”

  1. Unfortunately there seems to be a severe lack of training in nursing/dementia homes and some mental health establishments. I have come to appreciate recently a lot of what I now consider to be common sense are things i've learned through training or experience.That being said i'm writing this comment and playing devils advocate because its helping me ignore revising for my first year nursing exams.

  2. Yeah, it can be a bitch working in a hostel when stuff like this happens. If you're very lucky and the situation is severe you might no a doctor who's nice enough to come out at 2am and be willing to section somebody. But having said that getting someone sectioned is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Otherwise it might be just talking for hours if they'll let you in their room. Of course, there was they guy with the axe who broke into our locked office because he wanted a chat. Not suprisingly we were a little nervous and called the police when we could. My respect for the Uniformed Police went up hugely during that year in the hostel. The shit they have to deal with every day. And more and more the other services too. When did the uniform become the enemy?

  3. Perhaps the school curriculums need updating to cover the support services, what they can and can't do.Or perhaps you should be given freer reign to run over numpties in the middle of the road… ahem…

  4. “I'm on night-shifts at the moment. After some time being able to keep the same hours as reasonable people it's come as a bit of a shock to the system.”Which is why I was happy that I had a set daytime or evening schedule for most of my career. I can't handle those overnight shifts, though the night differential pay was tempting. I rather preferred overtime to working overnight. It really threw me off. I don't know how my brother does it. He is a paramedic Lt.with FDNY. He has always worked overnights…….

  5. I'm not sure about schools but all the Nurseries I visit, with my mobile library, get the kids to learn all about, “People who help us.” As you might imagine this includes the Police, Paramedics, Nurses, Doctors, Dentists, Fire Fighters but I don't have any books on Teachers, Nursery Staff or Librarians! Well, maybe the last three occupations don't have as much of an immediate impact but in the long term they count just as much. Just a wee thought.

  6. If it makes you feel any better Tom, I've been studying like nobody's business ALL through the sun. ALL through it. And inside, cos I can't handle outdoors. Being a redhead doesn't really help you in the sun…So I finish the hardest exam today, after a run of three in four days, and it's POURING rain. POURING.

    Just as well I'm Irish. Or I'd be wondering why God hates me so much… ๐Ÿ™‚

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